I interviewed myself recently. Here is the fourth question I asked and the answer I received.
4. Are any of your books based on a real-life experience?
No, none of the storylines are based on any real-life experiences. I get asked that question a lot.
I guess most writers write about something they know or get their plots from real life. I’ve got
a pretty vivid imagination, and I don’t lead a very exciting life, contrary to popular belief. Most
of my experiences are all business related, which don’t necessarily play well into my mystery
novels. I don’t model my characters after anyone. I know a lot of writers do that. I just get
a vision of these people and events in my mind and let it go from there. I mean, I don’t know
anyone that got murdered lately, so it’s sort of tough to write about that from experience.
Contrary to popular belief I wasn’t around back in the 1800s, so I didn’t have any personal
experiences to draw from when I wrote The Maynwarings: A Game of Chance.
Now, I will put references to real places or things in my novels. For example, I think Blenheim
Ginger Ale has shown up a couple of times. It’s my favorite ginger ale, so I try to work it in when
I can. I love giving companies and products I like a plug in my books. The Ocean Forest Hotel
was a real place in Murder at the Ocean Forest; I didn’t have any personal experience to draw on
with that hotel, so I had to rely on research, photographs, interviews with people, etc. The Ritz-
Carlton Atlanta figures into The House of Dark Shadows. I’ve been to that hotel, so I can use my
experience there to describe the place and all that. I’ve been to the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach,
so I can draw from that experience in The Versailles Conspiracy. But being at these places just
helps to describe them. No real life experience at any of those places was the basis of the plot
or anything like that.
I’ll also put in some quotes that I like that I’ve heard over the years from friends. I think my
favorite is ‘It may not be what you want, but it’s all you’ll ever want.’ And of course, my friend
Sam, to whom The House of Dark Shadows is dedicated, actually coined that term in reference
to a business situation in which I found myself many years ago. So, I do take some things from
real life and insert them into the books from time to time, but plot wise all that comes from my